EU law stops VAT cuts to all school uniforms, says minister

EU law prevents the government from cutting VAT on all school uniforms, Schools Standards Minister Nick Gibb has said. The BBC reports.

But that could change when the UK left the EU, he suggested to MPs.

He was responding to a call from Birkenhead MP Frank Field, who said some families were going short of food to pay for uniforms.

Some of his constituents faced bills of £300 “plus the devastating cost of games kits”, he added.

Under EU law, school uniforms for children under the age of 14 are VAT free.

But those who are over 14 or do not fit “average size” children’s clothes attract a full VAT rate of 20%.

Mr Field said this was an “arbitrary” cut-off point, and highlighted the case of a constituent whose 14-year-old son was 6ft 4in, with size-12 feet and a 48in chest.

Mr Field, who campaigned for Britain to leave the EU, said “If people want a uniform to be distinct, they should pick a colour that is commonly available and different from other school uniforms, rather than one that is available only from a single supplier”

Responding for the government, Mr Gibb said it was planning to put its existing guidelines to schools into law “to ensure uniform costs are reasonable”.

Read more EU law stops VAT cuts to all school uniforms, says minister

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